Well if you own stock in AMC Theaters and other movie theater chains, this awful summer box office isn’t much of a surprise. Compared to last year, the box office is down 12%.
Why the meltdown? I think it has a lot to do with sequels from franchises that are just tired and old. Cars 3, the latest Transformers, War for the Planet of the Apes, and Pirates of the Caribbean were domestic disappointments. Even Despicable 3 underperformed, grossing about 1/3 than the last one.
There were some decent hits out there, but nothing on the $400 million super blockbuster range. Marvel did well with Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 and working with Sony on adding Spiderman: Homecoming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Creatively and financially, Wonder Woman was a hit for DC and Warner. Dunkirk was also a solid hit for Warner. So outside of Super Hero movies and Dunkirk, there really wasn’t any movie that has been on fire at the box office.
Another reason for a slumping box office is streaming services. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime put out enough original content and old content to make anyone reasonably interested in entertainment, happy at home. While everyone said movie theaters would vanish because of the video rental business boom of the 1980s, streaming could be a bigger threat because of new content being produced for streaming services and the convenience of ordering content on demand rather than the trouble of going to the video rental club and seeing all the blockbusters already reserved. Netflix is the big player in the entertainment business right now. While their debt load should be some concern for their shareholders, their deals with David Letterman, the Coen Brothers, Marty Scorcese, and Shonda Rimes should make movie theaters pause for concern.
As long as there are theaters and movie studios, the movie business will continue They may have to adapt again like they did in the 1980s when the single movie theater died for the way of multiplexes. Whatever than change maybe, it needs to happen quickly. Then again, there is a new Star Wars movie this December.